I called D.A. Campbell, who told me he was meeting Judge Steven Gerick Jr. for lunch. Campbell asked if I’d like to join them. We met at Scoma’s, a seafood restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf, which just happened to be my favorite seafood restaurant.
I was taken aback when I met Judge Gerick. I guess I was expecting the stereotypical image of what I had seen in the movies. You know, tall, salt and pepper wavy hair, maybe a pair of wire-rim glasses, pinstriped suit, etc. What I saw was a stout, black man about 5’ 10” with a receding hairline. Instead of a pinstriped suit, he was wearing a pair of knee-length white Bermuda shorts and a very colorful Hawaiian print shirt.
“Mr. Grit, your illustrious reputation as a decorated law enforcement professional, is well noted and admired,” Judge Gerick said, sticking out a massive hand that enveloped mine easily. “Well, thank you, Judge,” I said. “That’s quite a paw you have there,” I added. “Yeah, they came in handy when I played nose-tackle for Harvard,” the judge said rather proudly.
With a mouth full of lobster, the judge said that once we found out which bank Chief O’Halloran and/or his wife kept their safe-deposit box, it would be a simple matter of explaining to the bank manager our intentions. “It shouldn’t be too much of a problem getting access,” he said. “If you run into any problems, Mr. Grit. I mean, if you encounter some reluctance, just let me know. Just in case you do, I’ll give you this letter with my seal on it,” Gerick said as he stuck his massive paw into his hip pocket and pulled out a slightly crumpled letter on U.S. Government stationary. “This should be all you need,” the judge said as he passed me the note.
The judge paid for lunch. I was greatly relieved since I didn’t have any dough, and I knew my credit card was way over its limit. I had depended on the District Attorney to pay since he was well aware of my financial situation. Outside of Scoma’s, we said our goodbyes to the judge, who rode away on a fully dressed Harley Davidson, dressed in his Bermuda shorts, Hawaiian shirt, and all. “Quite a guy, isn’t he?” Campbell said, laughing heartily now. “I think he’s a little fuckin’ crazy,” I said, now laughing, myself. “He was wearing a Harvard football helmet,” I said, laughing harder now. ‘Yeah, that’s his helmet from his playing days,” the D.A. said, smiling broadly.
The D.A. turned to me and shoved a wad of bills into my pocket. “Listen, Sam,” this money will tide you over for the next few days. I’ll start mailing you a check every other week. This is ridiculous, compensating you the way I have. It’s unprofessional, and you deserve better than that. I appreciate the hard work you’ve put into this case!”
Just then, his new assistant, a gorgeous, young, black woman in her early twenties, drove up in a white Caddy. She was an intern at Cal Law School, Campbell told me. Last year it was a gorgeous, young, blond intern from I forget - Santa Clara University Law School? “Find that safe-deposit box, Sam!” Campbell commanded. Then, still looking at me, he nodded toward his assistant and smiled as he slid into the passenger seat. “Fuck, me,” I mumbled as the valet drove up with my Karmann Ghia.
To be continued…